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Books I’m Reading and Why You Might Love Them Too + A Starbucks Giveaway

I often choose books based solely on what I need or want to learn at the time.

It’s why reading for the simple pleasure of it is a goal this year. Maybe Nancy Mitford says it best, “As far as I’m concerned, all reading is for pleasure.”

Today, I’m sharing both types of reads and I hope you’ll share your favorite(s) in the comment section.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links which simply means I may earn a small commission but it’s at no extra cost to you. Thank you!)

 

Garden Maker…Growing a Life of Beauty and Wonder with Flowers by Christie Purifoy

Garden Maker by Christie Purifoy

Beauty draws me in like a blazing fire does on bitterly cold nights. And Garden Maker is currently lit on my bookshelf. It is marked by beauty both visually and spiritually. Christie snapped all the shots for the book which is impressive as she doesn’t consider herself a professional photographer. But it’s her words I love even more. I’ve been a fan of hers since her first release, Roots and Sky. I also own her second book, Place Maker, and both are game-changers. In Garden Maker, her lyrical magic continues, but this time, she also gives practical advice on starting and tending a flower garden. I grew up gardening so I’m reading it more to be inspired by God’s truths displayed on every page in every possible way.

A favorite quote from Garden Maker: “Welcome to the garden. Welcome to this holy work. I understand if you are afraid. The thorns are knife-sharp, and the weeds are always waging their quiet wars. But here is the promise that has been made to each one of us: “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5). Every garden is singing a song for the One who made us, and we are invited to sing along.”

 

When Strivings Cease…Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace, by Ruth Chou Simons

When Strivings Cease by Ruth Chou Simons

You know the saying about how you don’t know how much you need something until you have it? Enter When Strivings Cease. I’m halfway through the book and for good reason. With chapters like “Bent and Broken: Striving to Please” and “The Lunchroom: Striving to Belong”, it’s no wonder the pace has slowed to a savor, much like a fine cup of tea. I thought I knew a lot about the subject of grace but God’s Word and When Strivings Cease reveal I still have a lot to learn…and that’s okay.

A favorite quote from When Strivings Cease: “When we believe an earthly father is available, knowable, inviting and good, we go running to him. We don’t hesitate to pursue a father who welcomes us with open arms, who looks up from his work and really listens, who shows concern when we cry, who holds us when we ache, who’s patient with our petty complaints, and silly stories. In the same way, we go running to God when we believe him to be that kind of Father. But we shy away and guard ourselves more when an earthly father doesn’t pursue us or seems silent. When he is bad at listening or isn’t available. We hide. We stay away. We pretend. What we believe about our Father determines how we come to him—or if we come at all.”

 

The Lazy Genius Way…Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done

The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi

I’m all about getting stuff done because productivity is my love language — but blind spots exist and it’s why I bought The Lazy Genius Way. I want so badly to be “normal” when it comes to housekeeping. But normal I am not. I never have been. Don’t get me wrong, I love cleanliness and order like anyone else but I don’t see multiple stacks of books, scattered papers lists, specks of dust, or baseboards in need of a fresh coat of paint. To see these kinds of things, and to feel the weight of how I “should” stop what I’m doing to pick up, paint, or do whatever else it is that normal people do, paralyzes me. Kendra teaches her readers how to name what matters to them, and to release the pressure of the rest. Talk about freeing! (By the way, on her podcast last week she spoke on how productivity shouldn’t be the definer of a good day. I almost had to pull over to catch my breath.) I’ve already pre-ordered her latest book, The Lazy Genius Kitchen: Have What You Need, Use What You Have, and Enjoy it Like Never Before. She has fun free stuff on her site for those who pre-order.

A favorite quote from The Lazy Genius Way: “Decide once, on purpose, about everything, from the items in your closet to what’s on your calendar. A single, intentional decision relieves your brain of effort, freeing you to think about what matters to you instead of living in a cycle of choosing this and that over and over again.” Boom!

What’s one book you’re currently reading? What do you like most about it? Share below and you’ll be entered into the Starbucks giveaway for a hot cup of something to enjoy while you read. 

 

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Maybe you spotted our current gift for new subscribers, What to Pray for Room-by-Room? Together, we’ll walk through the rooms of your home as I share ideas on ways to pray for you, your family, guests, and even strangers. You’ll find the new subscriber box at the top of the sidebar. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope you’ll feel right at home here in The Tiny House on the Hill.

 

 

God’s Provision ⏤ Even Before We Know We Need It // Guest Post by Edie Melson

Who would choose to write a book on grief—and how could that be God’s provision?

The third book in my Soul Care series is on grieving. I signed the contract for this series of books in 2018 and the publication of the books was the order set up then. The series idea was born out of a stressful time of caregiving and loss while my dad was in the last stages of Alzheimer’s.

The first two books—Soul Care When You’re Weary and Soul Care for Writers, came out in 2018 and 2019, respectively. I began writing Soul Care When You’re Grieving in late 2019. As I continued to work on the book, the pandemic hit.

I learned many valuable things during that writing journey. I discovered that the five stages of grief that everyone talks about—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance— aren’t really a set process. They’re a list of things that are common to most grieving events. For me personally, I found myself often skipping one stage, like anger, and then waking up months later immersed in a rage that lingered. These stages can be helpful only when we realize what we’re going through isn’t unique, it’s a shared experience. What is not helpful is comparing my process to anyone else’s.

Another thing I learned was the fact that we all grieve differently. As an introvert, I do a lot of my grieving in private. I’m not hiding my pain or purposely pushing anyone away, I’m also not trying to be perceived as strong or something I’m not. I’m simply processing my loss in a way that is natural to how God created me. An extrovert often grieves the opposite way. They usually need to process their grief by sharing it with others. Neither way is wrong or even better, just different. Beyond our personality type, I’ve found we grieve differently every time we’re faced with loss.

 

But what about God’s provision?

 

That came to light beginning November 23, 2020. That day our precious daughter-in-law was killed in a tragic accident, leaving behind our son and their 3-month-old baby. Our family immediately drew together, supporting each other as we began to walk out our intense grief.

In this journey, I found an unexpected foundation of strength from the year of writing this book.

 

These are the things that helped me most.

 

  1. I turned to God. I had learned I could safely take all my feelings (even the ugly ones) to God and He would embrace me. He is faithful to walk through the darkest valley with us—even when we’re angry with Him.
  2. I practiced grace. Giving grace to myself and to those around me and not judging the process of grieving. For so many years I had thought I was doing it wrong. This time, I just took the waves of emotion as they came—without condemnation.
  3. I read the Bible every day—first thing in the morning. I wasn’t in any kind of a formal Bible study, I just picked up the book and read. There is something incredibly healing about the word of God. By immersing myself in His healing words, I found the strength I needed.
  4. I accepted help from others. I consider myself a strong person, so accepting help isn’t natural. But by letting others take care of us, we were better able to cope.
  5. Accept the joy when it begins to appear. One of the hardest parts of grief for me, was when the enjoyment of life began to break through. It felt like experiencing joy was somehow a betrayal of the loss I’d had.

I don’t think there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t experienced some kind of major loss in the eighteen months. But it’s important to lean into God and let the healing begin. When I was ready, God began to once again flood my life with the warmth of His love. He has introduced us to a new rhythm for life—not one we’d have ever chosen—but still filled with beauty and a little more joy every day.

Cathy here! Edie, thank you for being our guest today.

Soul Care When You're GrievingIf you’d like to win a Kindle copy of Soul Care When You’re Grieving (release date is November 2nd!), leave a comment below. 

 

 

 

Edie Melson

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. She’s a writer who feels lost without her camera and a reluctant speaker who loves to encourage an audience. And she embraces the ultimate contradiction of being an organized creative. She knows the necessity of Soul Care and leads workshops around the country on staying connected to God. Her numerous books, including the award-winning Soul Care series and Unruffled, Thriving in Chaos reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives. Connect with her on social media & thru EdieMelson.com.

God is Still Speaking Through This Devotional (And How to Win a Copy!)

Awaken by Priscilla Shirer

 

It’s the only devotional I’ve read four (soon to be five) consecutive times.

Priscilla Shirer’s Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks welcomes my soul like an old familiar friend. It settles in smoothly but never grows weary of speaking truth and timely words of advice. Who wouldn’t want to welcome this kind of friend over and over again?

 

One benefit of reading a devotional multiple times, especially when jotting down notes along the way, is to see how God is moving and stretching us over a span of time.

 

For instance, on the second read-through, these questions were posed: What are you waiting on God for right now? What does faith and confidence look like, knowing He’s undoubtedly working for you in the distance? I answered, “I’m waiting to see God’s plans for my book.” The next time I read it, a few months later, I answered, “Thank you for Cynthia Ruchti — my dream agent — and thank You for confirming Your work in my life.” I paused to consider God’s goodness in bringing this dream to fruition.

You may remember my first post on this devotional, but I’m here to testify that the joy discovered under Shirer’s tutelage continues to build. Pour a cup of tea and savor these excerpts from Awaken:

 

Day 70

“Storms will do that to you sometimes–wash you ashore in unfamiliar places, around unfamiliar people. But if not for the storm (Acts 28:7-9), Paul wouldn’t have been in this location to meet these people and help them. God’s sovereignty had not been shipwrecked by the storm. His plans were not derailed just because the sailors’ plans had been thrown off course. God’s hand had steered them to the exact place where revival was primed to break out. And the storm was the instrument He used to do it. Are you in a fierce storm right now? Are you watchful and mindful of the various places it’s unexpectedly taking you and all the various people it’s unexpectedly introducing you to? Next time you’re frustrated or perplexed by where your latest storm has dumped you, pray for the joy of discovering that God is using this storm to intersect your life with someone else’s life, becoming part of answering their prayer, even as He’s answering yours.”

A fierce wind called the “northeaster” rushed down from the island. Since the ship was caught and unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. Acts 27:14-15

Day 78

“From your current vantage point, you may not be able to see how God is working out His purposes in your life. You’ve gotten your feet wet. You’ve tried to believe. But life just seems to roll on like always before, oblivious to your prayers and to the faith you’ve placed in God’s ability to change things. But be convinced that even though God may be working a great distance away, He is working. He hasn’t forgotten you or His promises to you. He has not run into a snag that may prevent Him from following through.”

The vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

Day 88

“The tumor is still there. Your family is still in crisis. The church is still without a pastor. Your son or daughter still can’t find work. It’s one thing to believe that God is able to do anything He wants. He is God. You know that. But it is quite another thing to believe that He is willing and able to do it for you.”

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate. Psalm 116:5

Day 90

“An encounter with God is meant to change us. To stagger us. To blind us to old pursuits, interests, ambitions, and fleshly desires, while miraculously opening our internal vision to eternal pursuits. What a waste to simply get up and go back to our normal habits after being in His presence and sensing the exhilaration of His nearness–after powerful moments in His Word, in prayer, in places where He’s made His way so plain to us.”

The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

 

Does a particular sentence or excerpt stand out? We’d love to know! Comment below, and you’ll automatically be entered into a random giveaway for a copy of Awaken! 

(And if you received a copy of “31 Ways to Pray for Your Children” or “Praying Throughout Your Home”, you’re in the right place. Welcome!)

 

Every Christian Will Benefit From This Book + Win a Copy!

 

 

I have no idea where the book came from.

I don’t remember buying it, borrowing it, or receiving it as a gift. Nonetheless, one day in January, I stumbled across Paul David Tripp’s, *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change.

I’d heard great things about the author so I moved the book from the back porch to the vintage ice-cream parlor table. It’s where my Bible, journals, and current studies call home.

 

I expected a devotional. Instead, I got a well-crafted guide into my own heart, as well as practical help when helping others.

 

I’ve walked with Jesus for thirty years and I’ve never read a better book that untangles and lays the truth out flat for all to understand.

“Every time you love your enemy, you are resting in the sovereignty of God. Every time you speak lovingly and softly in the face of someone else’s anger, you are choosing to rest in the sovereignty of God. Every time you resist the temptation to win an argument at all costs, you are resting in God’s sovereignty. Because he rules, nothing you do in obedience to him is ever futile. Your life has meaning and purpose because you are included not only in the plan of the One who rules it all, but also in his family!”

The above paragraph is soaked in orange and double-underlined in my book. Maybe it’s because loving my enemy, speaking softly in the face of anger, and resisting the temptation to win an argument does not come naturally. Or maybe it’s because God placed this paragraph in front of me on the very week I needed it most. (Don’t you love it when God does this?)

 

To know that our seemingly small actions of obedience matter encourage us to make the right choices.

 

“Any agenda for change must focus on the thoughts and desires of the heart. Therefore, the heart is our target in personal growth and ministry. Our prayer is that God will work heart change in us and use us to produce heart change in others that results in new words, choices, and actions.”

The above excerpt reflects why I believe every believer would benefit from reading *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. In shining the light on our own hearts, truth can’t help but also penetrate those God brings across our path.

 

Is there anything more exciting than knowing God uses ordinary people for extraordinary purposes? No degree required!

 

“Since the central character of the great story of Scripture is Christ, a central theme of the story is grace. It must be the central theme of our personal ministry, biblical counseling, and discipleship as well. We point people to a God who not only sets the goal for their lives but who enables them to do what they have never done before. His grace results in reconciliation, restoration, and peace. The impossibility of sinners becoming godly becomes possible through his grace.” One more time.

 

“The impossibility of sinners becoming godly becomes possible through his grace.”

 

This book is for pastors, ministries, Bible study leaders, and for women like me who simply want to stay alert to the people God calls me to come alongside for a season. If you appreciate a well-written, not too simple nor too deep kind of book that helps us and others, *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand, by Paul David Tripp is a keeper.

“He is the only answer, so we must never offer a message that is less than good news. We don’t offer people a system; we point them to a Redeemer. He is hope.”

During this season of great hope, we’re offering a daily guide to walk with Jesus throughout this week leading up to Easter.

Grab your free copy now!

(Members, you’ll find your copy in the monthly letter that was delivered last Tuesday.)

 

 

 

 

What’s one way you’re reaching out to others? Share in the comment section below to be entered in the giveaway for your own copy of *Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp. A random winner will be notified on Friday. 

*This is an affiliate link. It adds no cost to the purchase of your book. See policy in the sidebar for more information. Thank you!

Searching for A New Morning Devotional? Win My Favorite Here!

Yep, I gotcha covered!

That is if you’re not into full-on fluffy, feel-good words that drip thicker than syrup but leave the soul empty, hungry inside. Give me Truth in a relatable way and God will do the rest.

Because it matters, right? Devotionals are an investment. Not only do they cost money (unless you win this copy!), they also become a companion of sorts. It’s why pages that start clean with crisp edges can end with tear-smudged words, spilled coffee, and cornered edges. In my copy of Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks by Priscilla Shirer, you’ll find them all.

 

I didn’t read a devotional, I went on a journey.

 

And as a result, God taught me the beauty of biblical community, bruising a few toes, and severing one in the process. He also revealed through His Word and those He gave her, what real freedom looks like, how to listen for His voice, and how to fan the flame into a frenzy for God’s glory.

But y’all, the words He chose and placed on Priscilla’s heart to share in recent days have especially awakened my spirit to His presence through both encouragement and conviction.

 

These words are for you and me, and anyone longing to draw closer to the One who draws us near:

 

  • “No act of service is too small. The little piece you do matters. Every piece matters. They’re like ripples of water circling outward from a skipped rock. Everything you do creates an impact somewhere else you cannot see, but it’s a part of the big picture that God is putting together.”
  • “Compassion is willing to be inconvenienced. Compassion compels.”
  • “In-between times are necessary. They are the bridge between what He has done for you and what He’s preparing to do in your future.”
  • “He wants us to see our weakness mixing with His strength, causing our work to actually…work.”
  • “When our hearts are full of gratitude and humility, certain of God’s love, and when we genuinely prize the worth of those around us, we will release a steady stream of graciousness that refreshes others through everything we say.”

 

And then there was Day 64:

“Your God can be trusted. He will grant you the full supply you need to excel at His purposes today, no matter how varied or prodigious those tasks may be. Every decision you need to make, every task you need to accomplish, every relationship you need to navigate, every element of daily life you need to traverse, God has already perfectly matched it up with an equivalent-to-overflowing supply of His grace.

…because of His extravagant grace you will never lack, you’ll be more willing and able to give freely of yourself and your resources, certain that God will always replenish your supply.”

I read this on a day when my heart skipped that extra beat it seems to have⏤a day when, before opening the book to this page, I was frazzled, not sure how to arrange the to-dos.

My mouth fell open and almost flooded from the tears rolling down my cheek as I read her words…twice.

“God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 CSB

 

This is our God! He is personal and He is present, whether we feel it or not.

 

“A better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.” Hebrews 7:19 CSB

Did one of the above quotes speak to you today? Please share! You’ll encourage others and also have a chance to win a copy on Friday.

 

*If you don’t want to wait to grab a copy, Amazon has temporarily reduced the price of Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks. By purchasing the book through the orange link, I will receive enough money to put toward a cup of coffee at no extra expense to you. For more information on my affiliate statement, please see the sidebar. Thanks!

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Deepen Your Prayer Life with On Bended Knee by Crickett Keeth (Win a Copy!)

You know how it feels to meet someone for the first time but instead of the awkward pause, you settle in quickly, like they’re a long lost friend?

Crickett Keeth is one of those people for me. We first “met” on the Facebook Blue Ridge Bible Study Writers page several years ago. From the get-go, I think we both knew we’d discovered a peep for life. We’ve prayed for each other and cheered one another on with all the sis-boom-bah we could muster.

Here’s one thing I know: when Crickett says she’s praying for me, she is⏤there’s no well intentioned fluff here. She’s on the battle lines for women around the world, those in her church, and the participants of her NEW release, “On Bended Knee: Praying Like Prophets, Warriors, and Kings” by Moody Publishers. Notice I didn’t say, readers. In this 8-week study, participants are encouraged to engage with the Word and the questions along the way. The goal isn’t to form a perfect answer, but to allow God to use those questions to probe our hearts and deepen our prayer life.

So without further ado, it’s an honor to introduce you to Crickett.

 

Welcome, Crickett! So tell us, how did you get started writing Bible studies?

 

I led a small group when I lived in Dallas, and we used a number of popular Bible studies on the market. I would add questions to help facilitate discussion and get them to think deeper about the passage. One summer, they challenged me to write our next Bible study. As I prayed about it, I felt God was leading me to say yes. So, I wrote that first Bible study on the characters in Hebrews 11 found in the Book of Genesis. I loved writing it and knew I wanted to continue. And twenty years later, I’m still writing Bible studies!

 

Why did you choose to write a study on prayer?

 

I actually wrote this Bible study several years ago for the Women’s Ministry at my church. At that time, my life was out-of-control busy, and my time with the Lord was becoming more of a ritual than a relationship. Yes, I still had quiet times, and I was praying. But I felt like my prayers were rushed and missing something. I was just going through the motions, but not enjoying that intimate time alone with God in prayer. So, I cried out to God one day, asking Him to change my prayer life and bring me back to that sweet intimacy with Him through prayer that I had previously experienced. He led me to begin looking at prayers in the Bible, and that’s how this study was born.

 

Can you tell us a little more about the study and what we can expect?

 

On Bended Knee is an eight-week study looking at the prayers of eight men and women in the Bible. Each week is divided into five days, and each day has four parts. Looking to God’s Word directs us to the Scripture for that day, guiding us through observation and interpretation questions. Looking Upward challenges us to wrestle with thought-provoking questions and promotes rich group discussion. Looking Deeper encourages us to look at additional passages that will deepen our study. Looking Reflectively focuses on application and reflection of the lesson.

I don’t give a lot of commentary before and after each question because I want to guide you into discovering what God’s Word is saying instead of telling you the answers. I don’t want it to feel like you’re reading a book, but that you’re digging deeper into God’s Word as I guide you. However, some of the questions are challenging and make us wrestle with the answers. So, there is a Leaders’ Guide at the back of the book to walk you through those more challenging questions.

 

Which prayers do you highlight, and why did you choose those prayers?

 

We look at the prayers of Jesus, Paul, Job, Hannah, David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Nehemiah. I chose the prayers that I continually go to in my life situations—prayers that have helped me when I couldn’t express what was in my heart. There are many more prayers in the Bible we could have studied, and I wish I could have written on all of them. Maybe that will be a Part 2.

As I “listened in” on the prayers of these men and women, I wanted to look at the heart behind the prayer. What motivated them to pray? How did they approach God? How did God answer? How did their relationship with God deepen as a result of their prayers?

 

Who is this study for, and how will it impact their lives?

 

On Bended Knee is for anyone who wants to go deeper in their relationship with God through prayer. If you’re dissatisfied with your prayer life, wanting to be more consistent in prayer, or looking to deepen your intimacy with God, then this Bible study was written for you.

 

Where can we find this study?

 

It’s available now on Amazon, Moody, Barnes and Noble, and Christianbook.com

Crickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of The Gift of Rest, Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn), and her newly released study from Moody, On Bended Knee. Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. Learn more at www.crickettkeeth.com.

 

Thank you, Crickett, for taking time for this interview, and for offering a free copy of this much-needed study to one blessed reader of mine.

Before you go, is there some way Crickett and I can pray for you today? Share your request in the comment section, or email me privately using the icon in the sidebar, if you like. 

To enter the giveaway, share who you’ve recently met that feels more like a long lost friend.

 

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